Whether preparing for your visit to Dubai or just wanting to purchase one of the beautiful fashions online, there is some basic vocabulary that you need to know while shopping for Arabic clothing in Dubai. If you visit Dubai for business purposes, you should dress conservatively. For men, a suit should be worn even though some offices only require a shirt and nice slacks. Women should not wear anything that hugs the figure too tightly and it should cover her skin. This is a good rule to follow; at least until you know what is acceptable in that particular work place. A shirt and slacks or a long skirt will suffice. When you are not working, jeans with t-shirts are generally accepted. Shorts and tank tops are not. Remember that the weather is hot in Dubai. But air-conditioning is in nearly every building. So, while you may be hot for a few minutes, air conditioning is on its way! Air conditioning though can be extremely cold so when shopping in Dubai malls, so take the necessary precautions. Women should wear a shawl when going to the mall or theatre. Besides western wear, there is a large range of styles in clothing that are adopted, from other cultures in the region. Generally, women can dress in a western style, but be more conservative.
Below is a list of vocabulary words to look for when shopping for Arabic clothing:
Arabic clothing for men in Dubai
• The kandura is a body-length white cloak typical for Dubai men. These cloaks crease very little and always look clean. In the winter, many colors are seen, including greys and rich browns. The white is used in the summer because white reflects the rays of the sun. Men change their kanduras for different events during the day. In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, you may see kanduras made with collars or cuffs. This is a matter of style only.
• Many men in higher social circles will wear a bisht. This is a jacket that is worn over the kandura. A bisht is also worn at weddings or when visiting a Sheikh, for special occasions. Also, a faneela is a vest that is worn under the kandura. It too is part of formal wear.
• Though most people wear shoes today, there are those who still wear traditional sandals. These sandals are called Na-aal.
• The guthra is the headscarf and usually come in white and red checked or white colors, but they come in many other styles to fit today’s latest fashions.
Arabic Clothing for Women in Dubai
• The Abaya is a long black gown and is the elegant outerwear for women. Abayas can be simple to elaborate. Many women wear western clothing or cultural clothing under the abaya. Abaya helps protect the modesty of women, many of whom also cover their face and any other skin.
• The shela is a light material worn loosely over the head, mainly to cover the face. The shela has become very popular by fashion designers such as Dior and can come with matching handbags for a more put-together look for ladies. Likewise, the gishwa is a thin black veil that also covers a woman’s face. It is dark so you cannot see who is underneath, but light enough for a woman to see out. This style assists the women in travelling in freedom.
• The Hijab is not usually worn in Dubai, but you will see it in other countries. It is a covering on the head so that hair is not seen. Also, the burqa has two uses: one is to cover the head, but includes an opening for the eyes. The other is to cover the face. In Dubai, these are generally worn only by the older women.
• For weddings and other special or formal occasions, the jelabia mukhawara comes in a variety of beautiful colors.
• Finally, many ladies wear gloves to cover their skin. These gloves are called gafaaz.